The proportion of UK citizens from ethnic minority communities is expected to double in the next decades and will be between 20 and 30 percent by 2050, “radically changing the face of Britain,” a new report says.
While the UK’s White population “has remained roughly the same size” over the past 10 years, the ethnic minority population has almost doubled and now is at least 8 million people, or 14 percent of the UK population, says “A Portrait of Modern Britain,” says a report released by Policy Exchange, a center-right research institute based in London.
The authors of the study took the UK’s five largest distinct ethnic groups as an example, including Pakistani, Black African, Black Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Indian, with the latter the largest BME group in the UK.
“Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities now make up a significant and fast-growing part of the population,” it adds.
According to the study, these groups accounted for 80 percent of the UK’s population growth with Black Africans being the fastest growing group and White and Black Caribbean groups the slowest.
Meanwhile, the minorities represent mostly young groups of the population. According to the report, only 5 percent of the non-Whites are over 60 years old, while 25 percent of non-Whites are children under 5.
“The median age of BME communities ranges from 22 (Bangladeshis) to 38 (Black Caribbeans). The White median age is 39,” the study says.
In 2016, the median age for the minorities “will be between 11 and 13 as compared to 40 for the White population,” say the report’s authors. “And according to the last Census, non-Whites already outnumber Whites in every age group in London up to 20.”
The report also raises questions about the future of the English national identity as it reveals that ethnic minorities “are three times more likely than the White population to feel that ‘being British’ forms some part of their identity.”
In 2011 only 14 percent of White population in the country saw themselves as “British” and 64 percent identified themselves as “English.”
Meanwhile, at the same time at least 71 percent of Bangladeshis, 63 percent of Pakistanis and 55 percent of Black Caribbean considered themselves purely British.
“What is perhaps more surprising is that they identify with being specifically ‘British’ to a much greater extent than the White population, who self-identify largely with only the individual UK home nations (i.e. English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish),” adds the research.
The ethnic groups mostly reside in big cities with London, Greater Birmingham and Greater Manchester accounting for at least a half of Britain’s entire BME population.
“98 percent of BME residents live in urban areas, compared to 80 percent of White residents,” the report says.
According to the authors of the report, ethnic minorities in the country “are more likely to have a religion, more likely to practice it regularly, and to feel it plays an important part in their life.” While the majority of Black Caribbeans, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis attend religious services every week, only 10 percent of White British tend to have such a practice.
Also the 70 percent of the above mentioned ethnic communities say that religion plays a significant role in their lives, which is compared with only 14 percent of the White population.
Ethnic groups generally have higher unemployment rate than the White population with the highest percent of jobless Black Africans – at least 14.8 percent. The exception is the Indian minority group “which representatives cluster in the highest skilled professions,” the study says.
Pakistani and Bangladeshi experience specific difficulties in finding work. Twenty-four percent of Pakistani men are taxi drivers and 50 percent of Bangladeshi men work in restaurants while at least 39 percent of Pakistani women and 42 percent of Bangladeshi women have never worked.
The problems is that these ethnic minorities “either … have a lower understanding of the employment market and the jobs available, or … are unable to find jobs which suit the working hours they are willing to commit to,” says the study, quoting research by the Runnymede Trust for the All-Party Parliamentary Group of Race and Community.
However, despite suffering from high unemployment , BME communities also have a bigger number of “students staying on in formal education at 16 and 18 than the White population,” the report says.
At least 99 percent of second-generation ethnic minority groups who were born in the UK to immigrant parents have British citizenship, the research quotes Ethnic Minority British Election Study (EMBES) as saying. This is a high rate, compared to only 37 percent of representatives of the same group in the US and 83 percent in Canada.
The report also adds that ethnic minorities are more and more engaging in civic life similar to the White population. At least 68 percent of people from all ethnic minority groups vote for the Labour Party, while PM David Cameron’s Conservative Party is popular only among 16 percent of the ethnic minorities.
“The face of Britain has changed… BME communities will continue to become an ever more significant part of Britain. There are clear and striking differences between communities and these differences should be understood by policymakers and politicians,” the reports says.